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Mythography

The Study of Myths and Rituals

This new edition of William Doty's critically acclaimed study provides a comprehensive guidebook to the many schools of interpretation in this burgeoning field. William Doty's popular text has been hailed as the most comprehensive work of its kind. Extensively rewritten and completely restructured, the new edition provides further depth and perspective and is even more accessible to students of myth. It includes expanded coverage of postmodern and poststructuralist perspectives, the Gernet Center, mythic iconography, neo-Jungian approaches, and cultural studies, and it summarizes what is new in the study of Greek myth, iconography, French classical scholarship, and ritual studies. It also features a comprehensive index of names and topics, a glossary, an up-to-date annotated bibliography, and a guide to myth on the Internet. Presenting all major myth theorists from antiquity to the present, Mythography is an encyclopedic work that offers a cross-disciplinary approach to the study of myth. By reflecting the dramatic increase in interest in myth among both scholars and general readers since publication of the first edition, it remains a key study of modern approaches to myth and an essential guide to the wealth of mythographic research available today. William G. Doty is Professor of Humanities and Religious Studies at The University of Alabama and editor of Mythosphere: A Journal for Image, Myth, and Symbol.

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On Our Way

The Final Passage through Life and Death

Robert Kastenbaum

How do our ideas about dying influence the way we live? Life has often been envisioned as a journey, the river of time carrying us inexorably toward the unknown country—and in our day we increasingly turn to myth and magic, ritual and virtual reality, cloning and cryostasis in the hope of eluding the reality of the inevitable end. In this book a preeminent and eminently wise writer on death and dying proposes a new way of understanding our last transition. A fresh exploration of the final passage through life and perhaps through death, his work deftly interweaves historical and contemporary experiences and reflections to demonstrate that we are always on our way.

Drawing on a remarkable range of observations—from psychology, anthropology, religion, biology, and personal experience—Robert Kastenbaum re-envisions life's forward-looking progress, from early-childhood bedtime rituals to the many small rehearsals we stage for our final separation. Along the way he illuminates such moments and ideas as becoming a "corpsed person," going down to earth or up in flames, respecting or abusing (and eating) the dead, coping with "too many dead," conceiving and achieving a "good death," undertaking the journey of the dead, and learning to live through the scrimmage of daily life fully knowing that Eternity does not really come in a designer flask. Profound, insightful, often moving, this look at death as many cultures await it or approach it enriches our understanding of life as a never-ending passage.

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The Only True God

Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context

James F. McGrath

Monotheism, the idea that there is only one true God, is a powerful religious concept that was shaped by competing ideas and the problems they raised. Surveying New Testament writings and Jewish sources from before and after the rise of Christianity, James F. McGrath argues that even the most developed Christologies in the New Testament fit within the context of first century Jewish "monotheism." In doing so, he pinpoints more precisely when the parting of ways took place over the issue of God's oneness, and he explores philosophical ideas such as "creation out of nothing," which caused Jews and Christians to develop differing concepts and definitions about God.

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Open Secret

Wu-wei Wei

The old Masters were fond of a little joke. For instance one of them might say that the Buddha had a secret, but that Mahākāshyapa let it out. Mahākāshyapa, you may remember, was the bodhisattva to whom the Supreme Vehicle, chiefly represented by Ch'an and Zen to-day, is attributed.

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Opening the Doors of Wonder

Reflections on Religious Rites of Passage

Arthur Magida

This bold, pioneering book explores rites of passage in America by sifting through the accounts of influential thinkers who experienced them. Arthur J. Magida explains the underlying theologies, evolution, and actual practice of Jewish bar and bat mitzvahs, Christian confirmations, Hindu sacred thread ceremonies, Muslim shahadas and Zen jukai ceremonies. In rare interviews, renowned artists and intellectuals such as Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, holistic guru Deepak Chopra, singer Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), actress/comedienne Julia Sweeney, cartoonist Roz Chast, interfaith maven Huston Smith, and many more talk intimately about their religious backgrounds, the rites of passage they went through, and how these events shaped who they are today.

Magida compares these coming of age ceremonies' origins and evolution, considers their ultimate meaning and purpose, and gauges how their meaning changes with individuals over time. He also examines innovative rites of passage that are now being "invented" in the United States. Passionate and lyrical, this absorbing book reveals our deep, ultimate need for coming-of-age events, especially in a society as fluid as ours.

Conversations with: Bob Abernethy, Huston Smith, Julia Sweeney, Roz Chast, Harold Kushner, Ram Dass, Elie Wiesel, Deepak Chopra, Robert Thurman, Coleman Barks, Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), And others

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Osun across the Waters

A Yoruba Goddess in Africa and the Americas

Edited by Joseph M. Murphy and Mei-Mei Sanford

Òsun is a brilliant deity whose imagery and worldwide devotion demand broad and deep scholarly reflection. Contributors to the ground-breaking Africa's Ogun, edited by Sandra Barnes (Indiana University Press, 1997), explored the complex nature of Ogun, the orisa who transforms life through iron and technology. Òsun across the Waters continues this exploration of Yoruba religion by documenting Òsun religion. Òsun presents a dynamic example of the resilience and renewed importance of traditional Yoruba images in negotiating spiritual experience, social identity, and political power in contemporary Africa and the African diaspora.


The 17 contributors to Òsun across the Waters delineate the special dimensions of Òsun religion as it appears through multiple disciplines in multiple cultural contexts. Tracing the extent of Òsun traditions takes us across the waters and back again. Òsun traditions continue to grow and change as they flow and return from their sources in Africa and the Americas.

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Passing on the Faith

Transforming Traditions for the Next Generation of Jews, Christians, and Muslims

James L. Heft

From the beginning, the Abrahamic faiths-Judaism, Christianity, and Islam-have stressed the importance of transmitting religious identity from one generation to the next. Today, that sustaining mission has never been more challenged. Will young people have a faith to guide them? How can faith traditions anchor religious attachments in this secular, skeptical culture?The fruit of a historic gathering of scholars and religious leaders across three faiths and many disciplines, this important book reports on the religious lives of young people in today's world. It's also a unique inventory of creative and thoughtful responses from churches, synagogues, and mosques working to keep religion a significant force in those lives.The essays are grouped thematically. Opening the book, Melchor Sanchez de Toca and Nancy Ammerman explore fundamental issues that have an impact on religion-from the cultural effects of global consumerism and personal technology to pluralism and individualism. In Part Two, leading investigators present three leading studies of religiosity among young people and college students in the United States, illuminating the gap between personal values and organized religion-and the emergence of new, different forms of spirituality and faith. How religious institutions deal with these challenges forms the heart of the book-in portraits of best practicesdeveloped to revitalize traditional institutions, from a synagogue in New York City and a Muslim youth camp in California to the famed French Catholic community of the late Brother John of Taiz. Finally, Jack Miles and Diane Winston weave the findings into a broader perspective of the future of religious belief, practice, and feeling in a changing world.Filled with real-world wisdom, Passing the Faith will be an essential resource for anyone seeking to understand what religions must, and can, do to inspire a vigorous faith in the next generation.

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Pious Passion

The Emergence of Modern Fundamentalism in the United States and Iran

Martin Riesebrodt

Martin Riesebrodt's unconventional study provides an extraordinary look at religious fundamentalism. Comparing two seemingly disparate movements—in early twentieth-century United States and 1960s and 1970s Iran—he examines why these movements arose and developed. He sees them not simply as protests against "modernity" per se, but as a social and moral community's mobilization against its own marginalization and threats to its way of life. These movements protested against the hallmarks of industrialization and sought to transmit conservative cultural models to the next generation.

Fundamentalists desired a return to an "authentic" social order governed by God's law, one bound by patriarchal structures of authority and morality. Both movements advocated a strict gender dualism and were preoccupied with controlling the female body, which was viewed as the major threat to public morality.

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A Place at the Multicultural Table

The Development of an American Hinduism

Prema A. Kurien

Multiculturalism in the United States is commonly lauded as a positive social ideal celebrating the diversity of our nation. But, in reality, immigrants often feel pressured to create a singular formulation of their identity that does not reflect the diversity of cultures that exist in their homeland. Hindu Americans have faced this challenge over the last fifteen years, as the number of Indians that have immigrated to this country has more than doubled.

In A Place at the Multicultural Table, Prema A. Kurien shows how various Hindu American organizations-religious, cultural, and political-are attempting to answer the puzzling questions of identity outside their homeland.  Drawing on the experiences of both immigrant and American-born Hindu Americans, Kurien demonstrates how religious ideas and practices are being imported, exported, and reshaped in the process. The result of this transnational movement is an American Hinduism-an organized, politicized, and standardized version of that which is found in India.

This first in-depth look at Hinduism in the United States and the Hindu Indian American community helps readers to understand the private devotions, practices, and beliefs of Hindu Indian Americans as well as their political mobilization and activism. It explains the differences between immigrant and American-born Hindu Americans, how both understand their religion and their identity, and it emphasizes the importance of the social and cultural context of the United States in influencing the development of an American Hinduism.  
 

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Political Theologies

Public Religions in a Post-Secular World

Hent de Vries

What has happened to religion in its present manifestations? In recent years, Enlightenment secularization, as it appeared in the global spread of political structures that relegate the sacred to a private sphere, seems suddenly to have foundered. Unexpectedly, it has discovered its own parochialism-has discovered, indeed, that secularization may never have taken place at all.With the return of the religious,in all aspects of contemporary social, political, and religious life, the question of political theology-of the relation between politicaland religiousdomains-takes on new meaning and new urgency. In this groundbreaking book, distinguished scholars from many disciplines-philosophy, political theory, anthropology, classics, and religious studies-seek to take the full measure of this question in today's world. This book begins with the place of the gods in the Greek polis, then moves through Augustine's two cities and early modern religious debates, to classic statements about political theology by such thinkers as Walter Benjamin and Carl Schmitt. Essays also consider the centrality of tolerance to liberal democracy, the recent French controversy over wearing the Muslim headscarf, and Bush's God talk.The volume includes a historic discussion between Jrgen Habermas and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, concerningthe prepolitical moral foundations of a republic, and it concludes with explorations of new, more open ways of conceptualizing society.

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